Herbology and Common Herbs to Use with Pets

Herbology and Common Herbs to Use with Pets

Plants have been the primary source of medicine for people and animals throughout the world. Even today, plants are the primary source of medicine in most countries. They have been used as medicines (herbs) in the European and Mediterranean cultures for over 4,000 years!

Plants have been the primary source of medicine for people and animals throughout the world. Even today, plants are the primary source of medicine in most countries. They have been used as medicines (herbs) in the European and Mediterranean cultures for over 4,000 years!

Before taking off on your own to discover and use herbs for your and your pet’s well-being, we recommend that you be able to:

  • Identify the herb in the wild.
  • Understand the doctrine of signature.
  • Know what part of the plant to harvest.
  • Know what time of day/season to harvest.
  • Know how to harvest without harming survival of plant.
  • Know how to process when you get back to your herb lab.
  • Know when and how to properly administer the herb.

Part of understanding how to use herbs for healing and which are safe to use is learning herbal classification and the different degrees of herbs.

Herbal Classification

There are five classifications of herbs:

Aromatic: These herbs are mainly from volatile oils.

Astringent: These herbs owe their properties mainly to their tannins.

Bitter: These herbs owe their properties to alkaloids or saponins.

Mucilaginous: These herbs derive their properties from the polysaccharides they contains.

Nutritive: These owe their name and classification to the nutritive value they provide to the diet.

Degrees of Herbs

Herbs are categorized into different degrees. The degree of the herb plays a role in what will medicinally heal and help the body during the time of crisis.

1st Degree Herb: An herb that is from a food source.

  • Examples: Broccoli, mushrooms, and oranges

2nd Degree Herb: An herb that is medicinal food sourced.

  • Examples: Parsley, ginger, lemons, and cayenne

3rd Degree Herb: An herb that is considered medicine (use these in small amounts)

  • Examples: Cascara sagrada, echinacea, and valerian root

4th Degree Herb: An herb that is poisonous or considered to be a drug.

  • Examples: Floxglove, aspirin, and lipitor

Common Herbs to Use with Pets

Now that we’ve gone over the basics of herbology, let’s move on to the actual herbs! Below we’ve listed a few common herbs and their uses:


The seeds of this plant contain impressive amounts of essential fatty acids (EFA), especially gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), that has been proven to be extremely useful for liver, cardiovascular, and metabolic disorders. It is known that the flowers “glow” during the summer because of the plant’s high phosphorus content. The leaves can be applied as a soothing poultice or compress for minor skin irritations. The flowers are edible, making them great to toss in salads.

Parts Used: Seed, or flower and herb

Typical Preparations: Seed oil, or flower and herb used in tinctures, teas, and encapsulations.

Suggested Product: Nature's Sunshine Release It Flower Essence Formula


This is a great herb to use on the skin to help speed cell reproduction and inhibit bacteria and fungi at the site of injury. It lends wound-healing antimicrobial properties to the body’s healing efforts. Use calendula as a soothing and healing skin wash for dermatitis caused by fleabites, poison ivy, eczema, and sunburn. A cooled water infusion can be used for conjunctivitis. Calendula has been shown to be effective in the treatment of chronic colitis and may possess antitumor activities.

Parts Used: Dried flowers

Typical Preparations: Creams/Salves, teas, tinctures, infusions, compresses, and washes.

Suggested Products: Nature's Sunshine Keep Cool Flower Essence Remedy, Dr. Harvey's Herbal Shampoo for Dogs, Earth Animal Flea & Tick Program for Dogs- Organic Herbal Shampoo


Cleavers are a valuable lymphatic tonic where lymphatic circulation has been impaired. They can be used as an alternative therapy for treating skin disorders and also for their use as a blood cleanser. They are astringent and anti-inflammatory.

Parts Used: Entire fresh plant

Typical Preparations: Juice, tincture, or tea infusion of the fresh plant.


Dandelion is one of the most complete foods on earth. One cup serving of fresh dandelion greens provides as much as 2,000 IU of Vitamin A, 20-percent protein, Vitamins C, K, D, B-complex, iron, manganese, phosphorus, and many other trace minerals. It is especially rich in potassium. Dandelion is a safe, yet powerful diuretic and liver stimulant. Sap from the stem of the flowers has been noted to treat and cure warts.

Parts Used: The whole leaf, dried, and cut roots and flowers

Typical Preparations: Tea or tincture, can be used with dandelion root. The fresh greens of dandelion are great in salads and pesto.

Suggested Products: Animal Essentials Detox Blend, Nature’s Sunshine Liver Cleanse Formula, Dr. Harvey’s Multi-Vitamin


Feverfew is an anti-inflammatory herb that is a well-known remedy for migraines. It is also useful for cats as an alternative to aspirin. An anti-flea rinse can be made with its flowers.

Parts Used: All aerial parts

Typical Preparations: Tea infusions, tincture, and dried herb.

Suggested Product: Dr. Harvey’s Ortho Flex

Red Clover

A common use of red clover is to relieve the symptoms of PMS in premenopausal women. It can also delay bone loss associated with osteoporosis, reduce the levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol, help treat psoriasis and other skin conditions, purify blood, and fight cancer.

Parts Used: Flowers and sometimes the leaf and flower

Typical Preparations: Tea, capsules, and extracts. May also be eaten raw and seldom in salads.

Suggested Products: Nature’s Sunshine Red Clover Blend, Dr. Harvey’s Ortho-Flex, Animal Essentials Detox Blend


Sage is an excellent remedy for infections or ulcerations of the mouth, skin or digestive tract. It is effective against E. coli, Salmonella, Bacillus subtills and various fungi, namely Candida albicans, and C. pseudotropicalis. Sage tea poured over the skin can help relieve itching, and acts as an astringent. It is even used as an alternative to artificial dyes to darken graying hair. Sage is also a fantastic remedy for ring worm.

Parts Used: Leaves, flowers and stems

Typical Preparations: Dried or fresh leaves in food, and as a tea. It is sometimes found in washes and cosmetics.

Suggested Products: O'Paws Herb and Ocean Balancer, Holistic Blend Fresh Licks, Pet Greens Cat Treats Turkey & Veggie

Stinging Nettle

Stinging nettle tea is an excellent skin and coat rinse that nourishes animals’ fur. It is loaded with trace minerals and vitamins and won’t add excess stress on the liver, kidneys, or digestive tract. Stinging nettle can reduce allergy symptoms when taken on a regular basis. Handle this herb with care! You must wear gloves when harvesting.

Parts Used: Leaves and stems of the pre-flowering plant. (Use before June.)

Typical Preparations: Tea infusions, dried herb, poultice, or tincture.

Suggested Products: Earth Animal Flea & Tick Program for Dogs Internal Powder, Nature’s Sunshine HistaBlock


Yarrow is known as the “wound wort” because of its use to stop bleeding and disinfect wounds on the battlefield. The aromatic nature of the plant may be of help in repelling fleas, mosquitos, and flies. Yarrow has anti-inflammatory properties when taken internally. It can be helpful for arthritis, dermatitis, and blood clots of the ears and the skin.

Parts Used: Dried stems, leaves, and flowers.

Typical Preparations: Tea infusions, juice (from the fresh herb), tinctures, as a compress, and in baths.

Suggested Product: Nature's Sunshine Find Strength Flower Essence Formula


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